In The Schools

Hopes High, Caps High: Randolph’s Graduating Class of 2017 Says Their Final Farewell


Randolph, NJ -- Surrounded by a cheering crowd, warm weather, and a band playing “Pomp and Circumstance”, the Randolph High School graduating class of 2017 finished off their high school career on Wednesday. ( SEE Photo Slide Show at end of Story )

The sight of the blue robes and the signature graduation caps stirred excitement and tears amongst the family and friends sitting in the stands. After all, the graduation ceremony marked the end of thirteen years of hard work, maturity, and fun memories to last a lifetime.

“This is certainly an evening to sit back and enjoy the moment as it has taken some eighteen years to get to this point, and you deserve some time to reflect on your journey,” said Deborah Iosso, the principal of Randolph High School.

Sign Up for E-News

“Be kind, and allow your heart to forgive. Let your eyes see only the best, and let your hands be used to help others.”

Student speakers included Student Council President Molly O’Meara, Valedictorian Claire Zou, Salutatorian Jessica Freund, and Class President Michael Godt.

O’Meara spoke first and reflected on the past four years, stating, “Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.  Together we have grown throughout high school and are all completely different people now than the freshmen we once were.”

O’Meara encouraged her peers to make the most of the next four years, stating, “Try new things, take chances, have fun, but stay focused and continue to grow.”

Fruend followed that up with similar sentiments, while also commenting on how fast the time went by.

“I know that I am not alone in my amazement that we are already here today wearing our caps and gowns, and graduating from Randolph High School. In fact, it didn’t really hit me that our time at RHS was over until I sat down to write this speech.” said Freund, disbelief written over her face.

Zou used her time on the podium to share what she thought were the three most important life lessons she learned in high school.

“Please don’t expect these to be profound or mind-blowing, because my GPA doesn’t translate to life experience, said Zou.  “Instead, from one eighteen year old to another, I hope these resonate with you too.”

Zou went on to discuss her lessons learned, including, “Surround yourself with people who make you happy”… “Life never goes as planned, but it will turn out OK”… and “Strive to be the best person.”

While graduation is certainly a bittersweet moment for some, Michael Godt brought humor to an event full of final goodbyes.

“Thanks for your yearly support; actually, thanks to no one else deciding to run for class president,” said Godt.  “I’ve been given the honor to speak here today, me, Michael Godt. The same guy you voted for class clown,” he said, raising laughter from the crowd. “While that doesn’t sound like an ideal situation, together, we, the class of 2017, have successfully made our mark on Randolph High School.”

Graduation doesn’t just affect students and family, however. Teachers also must say goodbye to the students that they have formed friendships and bonds with. Michael Pignaloso, a math teacher known as “Mr. P,” was voted to be the senior speaker, offering words of advice and reflection for the seniors.

“All in all you have spent 320,400 minutes here, in this building. That’s about 18,000,144 seconds,” said Pignaloso, “The point is, not all of those minutes were great, and not all of those minutes were horrible. But all that time was a chance you had to do something. I hope you took advantage of that chance and made memories.”

Some advice from Pignaloso included a short list of “Do and Don’t” items which filled the seats with laughter, until Pignaloso ended his talk with heartfelt words.

“It is my sincere hope and prayer that I have been able to encourage you or speak into your life during these past four years.  If there is one thing you can take away from time with me, it is that you should always do your best to treat everyone you meet with respect and love.”

The stands were packed with loving parents, siblings, and friends. One parent, Inesa Shkolnik, said, “I feel very proud and happy that my son is graduating today, and that he grew up to be such a good person.”

She also had some advice for the graduating seniors. “Don’t be afraid of the future! Take everything that comes your way and make it a positive experience.”

As the sun was starting to set over the forest near John Bauer Memorial Field, the graduating class moved the tassels on their cap from the right to left, and followed that up with the traditional “Hat toss”, signifying that they were no longer seniors, but Randolph High School Alumni. Slideshow:

Editor's Note: Cindy Gao and Arina Arshinova are freshman at Randolph High School participating in a journalism program with TAP into Randolph.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Possible Snow Overnight Monday in Randolph, Again

March 12, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- A  winter weather advisory remains in effect from 8:00 pm this evening until 10:00 am Tuesday according the the National Weather Service.

There is a coastal storm that will be in the area Monday evening and into the Tuesday morning commute. The current forecast data suggests that  the area may experience rain before a changeover to all ...

County College of Morris Performing Arts and Cultural Events Spring 2018 Season

March 16, 2018

APRIL 2018:

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Wednesday through Saturday, April 11-14
7:30 p.m., Saturday matinee 2 p.m. Student Community Center Dragonetti Auditorium

The Broadway Theatre is crumbling and closing! To pay homage, past performers of the “Weismann Follies” have gathered there for a reunion and final goodbye to the historic landmark. Journey through ...

Morristown Happenings: Things to do in Morristown this Weekend

March 10, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ -  It's been a rough week for residents due to power outages and storm related damages. Maybe a little distraction? Morristown has parades, dances, farmers markets, crafts, and much more this weekend.  


Friday March 9

Celebrate Dr. Seuss (rescheduled from 3/9); Morris County Library; Celebrity Readers from 3:30pm - 4:45pm

Morristown High ...

Randolph Police Blotter Includes Active Warrants in February

March 14, 2018

On January 31, 2018, Nicholas, Bernardo, age 19 of Rockaway, NJ was arrested during a motor vehicle stop by P.O. Greco on active warrants issued out of the Township of Randolph and the Boro of Rockaway. Mr. Bernardo was transported to the Randolph Police Department and processed. Mr. Bernardo was committed to the Morris County Correctional Facility in default of $1,300 bail.

On February 1, ...

Floating Classroom Will Help Roxbury Kids Embrace 'Their' Lake Hopatcong

March 14, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – There are plenty of kids living in Roxbury who’ve never been on Lake Hopatcong, says lake buff Marty Kane. He’s even confident many don’t realize their town borders the big lake.

That’s one of the reasons Kane, chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board of Trustees, is bubbling with excitement about the upcoming launch of the ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Hank Shapiro on Piano

Community Calendar


Tue, March 20, 4:30 PM

Randolph Township Free Public Library, Randolph

Explorer's Club

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education Health & Wellness Other

Randolph Speech and Debate Team Attend Harvard Invitational

March 15, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph Speech and Debate team drove up to Harvard to compete at the 44th Annual Harvard National Forensics Tournament on February 16-19. Bringing in its largest group of students in years, – around forty competitors – the team was quite successful. 

The Harvard invitational is the largest forensics tournaments of the season, bringing in hundreds of teams ...

Randolph Recreation Wrestlers Shine at NJ Kids State Championships

March 15, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- 9 Randolph Rec Wrestlers qualified for the NJ Kid’s Wrestling Championship Wrestling Tournament this weekend.

With 12 Wrestling Mats and 1000+ Wrestlers, this 2 day event in Trenton is considered one of the toughest in the country.

"The results below are monumental for any program or club and are a testament to ...

Atlantic Health System’s Dr. Linda Gillam Recognized with American College of Cardiology’s Top Honor

March 17, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has recognized Linda D. Gillam, MD, MPH, FACC, the Dorothy and Lloyd Huck Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Morristown Medical Center/Atlantic Health System, with the 2018 Gifted Educator Award.

The Gifted Educator Award is presented to a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology who has demonstrated innovative, outstanding ...

Health Alert: Child with Measles Traveled to Newark Airport on March 12

TRENTON, NJ — If you were at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, March 12 between 12:45 and 9 p.m., you may have been exposed to measles and should contact your health care provider.

The N.J. Department of Health has issued a public health alert after a child with a confirmed case of measles — a highly contagious disease — arrived in Terminal B at Newark Liberty ...

Randolph Lions Club Collecting New / Used Golf Clubs and Balls

The Randolph Lions club is collecting new or used golf clubs and balls to support Bunkers in Bagdhdad.

Drop off is from March 1 through April 14  at the Randolph Community Center 30 Calais Road Randolph N.J. Center is open M-F 8:30 to 4:30

Donations will be sent to our brave service men and women currently serving in combat zones. Equipment is also supplied to Wounded ...

Morris Museum Exhibits Student Art from The Peck School

MORRISTOWN, NJ  – Throughout the month of March, the Morris Museum, in its North Gallery, will be highlighting a range of student work showcasing the arts program at The Peck School in Morristown. The exhibit, entitled “Step into Spring: Budding Artists of The Peck School,” includes painting, sculpture and woodworking from students in Peck’s K to 8 program.

The Teachers and Support Staff  of Randolph Township Schools Ask For Support

Each day the teachers and support staff of Randolph School District work hard to help our students succeed at their highest level.  On any given day all one has to do is view the Randolph Education Association’s (REA) social media sites to see and read about the tremendous accomplishments our students and your children are making.  These media posts are just a small fraction of ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!